Angus North and Mearns MSP, Mairi Evans, has raised the interim closure of the Mulberry Unit with the First Minister today (Thursday).
Speaking at First Minister’s Questions, the MSP said: “Last week the decision was taken by NHS Tayside to temporarily close the Mulberry Unit which is a mental health inpatient facility at Stracathro Hospital in my constituency.
“That decision was taken on safety grounds because of a lack of junior psychiatric doctors to cover the three sites that are within Tayside.
“The closure will of course have a big impact on patients, their families, carers and staff living in Angus.
“So I would like to ask the First Minister - what will be done to mitigate the impact of this closure, what steps are being taken to encourage doctors into psychiatry and will the Cabinet Secretary for Health meet with me and with service users in my constituency to discuss their serious concerns.”
In her response, Nicola Sturgeon said the government had been told by NHS Tayside that the closure was temporary, and that the Cabinet Secretary for Health would be “happy” to keep the MSP informed of updates.
The First Minister said: “Patient safety is the absolute priority and its right that the board listens to the advice of its clinicians to ensure that all patients across Tayside continue to receive a safe service.
“The Board has assured the Scottish Government that this is a temporary measure and we will provide every support to the board and the local health and social care partnerships as they continue to work with their partners to develop a sustainable model for the longer term.
“Through our national workforce plan we are working with boards to identify further steps that can be taken to fill training in disciplines that have been harder to recruit to in recent years.
“NHS Tayside has already approved an attraction and recruitment strategy designed to support their workforce plan, including for psychiatry.
“The Health Secretary will be happy to keep the member, and any member interested in this issue, fully up-to-date.”